01-jun-61    to    31-aug-61

Operation Vantage

01-jun-61    to    31-aug-61

kuwait Kuwait

Kuwait gained independence from Britain in mid 1961 and almost immediately was threatened by a territorial claim from Iraq. The Amir of Kuwait appealed to Britain for defence aid, which was rapidly deployed, whilst the Arab League was preparing a local force for Kuwaiti defence.

42 Commando was already embarked on HMS Bulwark, which had sailed from the Karachi on 29 Jun and they were landed by 848 NAS helicopters on 1 Jul, while Bulwark provided an initial coordinating, offshore air traffic service. Other units were flown in by RAF Transport Command, for instance HQ 24 Brigade from Kenya, 11th Hussars and 45 Commando from Aden. Half a squadron of tanks from 3rd Dragoon Guards was unloaded by the LST, HMS Striker. They were joined by HMS Victorious (sailed from Singapore, arrived 9 Jul) and its non-helicopter capable escorts, then by HMS Centaur (sailed from Gibraltar via Aden), offshore. Fixed wing support operated from RAF Bahrain and relied on theatre control from Victorious, which had relieved Bulwark of this duty.

By mid August, tension had eased and Arab troops had begun to relieve British units, but the final British troops did not depart until mid October 1961.
It would be almost 30 years before Iraq did invade Kuwait and an international force was sent to recover it.


Dates UnitModels
    jun61 to jul61 UK 825 NAS Fleet Air Arm Whirlwind
    29jun61 to 21jul61 UK 848 NAS Fleet Air Arm Whirlwind
    31jul61 to 24aug61 UK 824 NAS Fleet Air Arm Whirlwind
Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation

helicopter   Individual helicopters

Model IDs
Westland Whirlwind HAS.7 XN259     XN299    


Aircraft Carrier   Illustrious class Royal Navy R38 HMS Victorious,
Aircraft Carrier   Centaur class Royal Navy R06 HMS Centaur,
Aircraft Carrier   Modified Centaur class Royal Navy R08 HMS Bulwark,
Frigate   Type 12 Rothesay class Royal Navy F101 HMS Yarmouth,
Support Ship   Retainer class Royal Fleet Auxiliary A280 RFA Resurgent, Royal Fleet Auxiliary A329 RFA Retainer,

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